Lemon Coconut Layer Cake Recipe – Gourmet Magazine Recipe

I have been reading Gourmet Magazine for as long as I can remember. I would anticipate with excitement each issue’s arrival at my home and would wait for just the perfect time to turn its pages and soak up every word and image. Now, I wait with the same excitement for the Special Editions.  This season’s edition, Gourmet Holiday, is gorgeous gastronomy at it’s best.  It not only contains recipes that are a feast for your table, but each image is a feast for your eyes too

A few weeks back, Elizabeth and I had the honor of being invited to a special event held by Gourmet Magazine in NYC.  As a result, I’m able to share with you the Lemon Coconut Layer Cake Recipe from the Holiday Special Edition.  For the other 119 equally amazing recipes, you’ll need to grab a copy for yourself.  Consider it a holiday present and share the love with your favorite foodies.   To stay on top of food trends and future editions, visit Gourmet Live online and follow on twitter @GourmetLive and ‘like’ on facebook at Gourmet Live.

The Holiday Special Edition is ON SALE NOW and available at retailers nationwide including Barnes & Noble, Hudson News, Whole Foods, and many more!

“We’ve gathered together 120 of Gourmet’s all-time favorite holiday recipes to create the ultimate seasonal survival guide. Complete with crowd-pleasing menus, stress-free party food, treats to make & give, and more, this special edition has everything you need to make your holidays easy, delicious and memorable.” More information ›


Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

Serves 10 to 12  |  Active time: 1 hour  |  Start to finish: 2 hours


  • 2 3/4  cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising;  sift before measuring)
  • 2 1/2  tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2  cups sugar
  • 4 large whole eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1 1/2  tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • 1/4  cup cornstarch
  • 3/4  cup water
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
  • 3/4  cup fresh lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces


  • 1 (7-oz) bag sweetened flaked coconut  (2 2/3 cups)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4  cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3  cup light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1  tsp vanilla
  • 1  tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8  tsp salt


  • 2  (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans; stand mixer (necessary for frosting but not for cake)


> Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter cake pans and line with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Then dust cake pans with additional flour, knocking out excess.

> Sift together flour (2 3/4 cups), baking powder, and  salt into a large mixing bowl.

> Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla and continue beating 5 minutes more. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and milk alternately in 4 batches, beginning with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth. Divide between cake pans, spreading evenly.

> Bake cake layers until they begin to pull away from sides of pans and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pans on racks, then invert cake layers onto racks and cool completely. (Leave oven on for toasting coconut.)



> Whisk together eggs in a large heatproof bowl until well combined.

> With clean dry whisk, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt heavy saucepan. Whisk in water, zest, and juice until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whiskng; reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, whisking constantly, 2 minutes (mixture will be thick).

> Add hot juice mixture to eggs in a slow stream, whisking, then return egg mixture to saucepan, whisking, and cook over medium-low heat just until it reaches a boil. Remove pan from heat, then add butter, whisking until butter is melted. Chill filling, its surface covered with a buttered round of wax paper (buttered side down), until cold, at least 30 minutes.



> Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring often, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes (see Tip, above right). Cool on sheet on rack.

> Combine frosting ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whip attachment. Beat at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.



> Halve each cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Put 1 layer on a cake stand or large plate and spread with one-third of filling (about 3/4 cup). Stack remaining cake layers using half of remaining filling between each layer. Spread top and side of cake generously with frosting and coat cake with coconut, gently pressing to help it adhere.


COOKS’ NOTES: Cake layers (not split horizontally) can be made 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped individually in plastic wrap, or 1 week ahead and frozen.

> Filling can be made 1 day ahead and then chilled, covered. Stir before spreading.

> Cake can be assembled and frosted 2 hours ahead.

> The egg whites in the frosting are not cooked. If this is a concern, you can substitute reconstituted dried egg whites such as Just Whites.


TIP: Toasted coconut adds an irresistible crunch and nutty brown flavor to baked goods. It’s well worth the 12–15 minutes it takes to make, but requires a watchful eye.  Spread packaged coconut as evenly as possible on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 350°F oven. After 5 minutes, pull out the baking sheet and stir the coconut  well, then spread it out again. Do this a couple more times. During the last few minutes, check coconut often: It can go from pale gold (nearly ready) to golden brown (done!) to burned in  the time it takes to grab a potholder and rack for cooling.


One Response to Lemon Coconut Layer Cake Recipe – Gourmet Magazine Recipe

  1. I purchased the issue and made this cake to serve on Christmas Day. It turned out perfect except that the lemon filling seems much too tart with 3/4 cups of fresh lemon juice. Could this be an error? I did a search for similar cakes and noticed they call for only 1/4 cup lemon Juice in the lemon filling.

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